Saturday, May 21, 2005

Silverplate Covered Butter Dishes

Many years ago, cooking in America called for tremendous amounts of butter. Alhough margarine made its appearance during W.W.II, there was no substitute for butter. It was during this time when most of the silver and silverplate covered butter dishes were produced.

During this time, butter was sold in large one-pound blocks, a dish was invented that not only helped with the presentation at the table, but was a necessity. Most silver and silverplate butter dishes consist of three silver parts: the lid, the pierced liner, and the base. Butter was placed on the liner, allowing the excess condensation from the butter to drain through the piercing. If the weather was warm, ice was added with the butter on top, and the melting ice could drain through the piercings or drain hole.

These silver and silverplated dishes are also known as domed butter dishes, covered butter dishes and silver butter dishes. These more ornate butter dishes are more rare than the more commonly seen rectangular butter dishes that are just slightly larger than a stick of modern butter. Rarely does one see these rounded butter dishes in use anymore, and they have achieved a strong following for collectors.

For fancy dinners, the hostess may have had one of the servants make fancy molded pieces of butter called butter pats or butter balls, which were served on crushed ice in the butter dish to be picked up with a butter pick. These required yet another butter serving piece, itself known as a butter pat. Butter pats are tiny plates placed at each individual setting, to be used for a single piece of butter. They range in diameter from approximately 2 2/5 inches to about 3 ¼ inches, and were made in sterling silver and silverplate as well in porcelain and china. Many sterling silver companies produced butter pats to match their sterling flatware patterns.

As butter began to be commercially produced for distribution in individually wrapped quarter pound cubes, the larger form of butter dishes became obsolete. Thus the butter dish began a new form. This new dish usually had a crystal liner, to protect the silver from the salt used in making the butter. Salt is the number one enemy of sterling silver and silverplate. Most of the new butter dish forms are 8 – 9 inches long.

We at Abe's have a fine selection of antique quadruple silverplate butter dishes for your collecting and fine dining needs. All of the silver butter dishes are available for immediate sale, and you can view our selection of butter dishes at Silver Butter Dishes.